The 2015 UK & Ireland Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Conference was held at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) this week (Monday, June 29 and Tuesday, June 30).
The two-day conference brought together more than 50 advocates of responsible citizenship, management and leadership from universities and institutions across the UK and Ireland.
Professor Muhammad Yunus, GCU Chancellor and Nobel Laureate, addressed delegates in a keynote address entitled ‘Reflections on Social Business’, in which he discussed his experience of alleviating complex social problems through social business, rather than a traditional for-profit business model. He highlighted successful examples, such as the Grameen Bank, which he started in Bangladesh in 1976 and has been instrumental in lifting millions of people out of poverty.
He also spoke of his desire to create “a world of three zeros – zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions.”
His address was followed by a Q&A, chaired by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE.
The conference also included a session on social innovation, led by GCU’s Professor Simon Teasdale and Professor Olinga Ta’eed of the University of Northampton, and a panel discussion entitled ‘Business as a Force for Good’, led by Jane Wood, CEO of Scottish Business in the Community; Richard Taylor, Director of Communications at Scottish Power; and Sefton Laing, Head of Sustainability Services at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Dr Alec Wersun, Senior Lecturer in GCU’s Glasgow School for Business and Society, is Vice-Chair of the UK & Ireland Chapter of PRME. He said: “In September, the United Nations will publish the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“While the MDGs focused on halving poverty by 2015, the SDGs targets are much broader, and stress the contribution that business can make to solving social, environmental and economic problems by leveraging its substantial resource base and innovative capacities. “Therefore, business schools and universities, as generators of knowledge, research and human capital, have a great role to play to team up with businesses, government and social enterprise to make a collective impact on these surmountable problems.”
Developed in 2007, PRME is a United Nations (UN) Global Compact-backed initiative to promote and inspire responsible management education and research in academic institutions around the world. The global reach of the initiative now includes over 600 leading business schools and academic institutions from over 80 countries.
GCU became a signatory to PRME in January 2012. The University’s participation, led by Glasgow School for Business and Society, demonstrates its commitment to ensure that the PRME principles are central to teaching, learning, and research across all disciplines.
GCU is a founding member of the UK & Ireland PRME Chapter, which was established in 2014, and now has 56 members. The Chapter’s remit is to work with higher education institutions and related bodies to integrate the PRME in to the higher education sector in order to produce global citizens and responsible leaders of the future.